War and peace 1 andrei bolkonsky

War and peace 1 andrei bolkonsky

A highlight of cinematic megalomania can now be discovered digitally restored in the cinema: The four-part Soviet film masterpiece "War". Peace" by Sergei Bondarchuk is probably the most elaborate film production of all time. Approximately seven hours of detailed, epochal Tolstoy film adaptation. The shooting of the most expensive film production of the Soviet Union, for which Sergei Bondarchuk was responsible as director, writer and leading actor, lasted from 1962 to 1967.

The historical epic takes us from the imperial palace to the peasant hut and from the great European battlefields to a Christmas sleigh ride and burning Moscow, telling us about Russian life and the Russian soul in all its facets. "War and Peace" won a Golden Globe in 1969, an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and is still considered the greatest epic film of all time and the most detailed adaptation of Tolstoy's novel.

Part 1
Petersburg 1805: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a wealthy count, returns from studies in Paris. After a night of carousing, he is banished from the city and goes to Moscow. There he meets his friend, the young Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who is eagerly awaiting the tangibly approaching war with France. However, in the battle of Austerlitz, the prince is severely wounded. Back home, his wife dies in childbirth. Deeply affected by the blows of fate, Andrei almost loses faith in life. Only the chance meeting with the young Countess Natascha Rostowa is able to give him new courage to face life.

Note Cinema Cameo:

In light of Russia's current war of aggression against Ukraine, Bondarchuk's epic takes on new relevance: As a response to King Vidor's 1956 War and Peace, the mammoth Russian production is, according to film historian Denise J. Youngblood not only the best adaptation of Tolstoy's novel, but also the most important artifact of the Cold War on the cultural level of Russian. The lavish film was made between 1961 and 1967: a period in which the East-West conflict intensified and there was a change at the top of the Communist Party apparatus from Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev to Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev.

After Stalin's death in 1953 and under Khrushchev, the Russian film industry was in a thaw period. Gentle criticism of social and economic problems was allowed and productions such as Mikhail Kalatozov's "When the Cranes Draw" (1957) or Andrei Tarkovsky's "Ivan's Childhood" (1962) directly or indirectly cast a new, humanistic view on the Second World War and also celebrated great international successes. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, however, Brezhnev became General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1964. The film industry now had to function again more as a direct organ of the government and primarily propagate national strength.

As Youngblood notes in her monograph on Bondarchuk's epic, the film operates within the tensions between the opposing political dynamics of the 1960s in the Soviet Union: "'War and Peace' exemplifies the transition of the more intimate cinema of the Thaw to the monumentalism of many Brezhnev-era films. The adaptation of Tolstoy's novel thus concretely shows how Soviet patriotism was constructed during the Cold War".

War and Peace" is an impressive manifestation of the possibilities of the Russian film industry at that time and the talent of Bondarchuk, who pays respect to the writer Leo Tolstoy and the historical events in more than seven hours. As a product of national propaganda, however, the film also successfully served Brezhnev's desire to strengthen the military and patriotism in the native culture. As a historical document, it thus refers to the ambivalent dynamics of the Cold War in the Soviet Union, which continue to have an impact today and are currently unfolding a new, tragic topicality.

Source: Youngblood, Denise J. (2014): Bondarchuck's War and Peace. Literary Classic to Soviet Cinematic Epic.

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